Intimacy review by Bloc Party

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  • Released: Aug 21, 2008
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (25 votes)
Bloc Party: Intimacy

Sound — 8
So this is it! Bloc Party's eagerly anticipated third album. I have to say, after I heard the first single, Mercury, I had my doubts. I was beginning to wonder if it would be the "fall" of Bloc Party, that some die-hard fans from the Little Thoughts EP days were starting to talk about. After listening to the album however, those doubts were swept away. Claims that the album was going to be similiar to another Silent Alarm were inaccurate, as were the rumours that Bloc Party were going techno. On Intimacy, Bloc Party mixes that classic Bloc sound we all know and love (Halo), a slightly technological edge (Trojan Horse) and experimantal rawness (Ares), along with the beautiful Signs, and the restful Ion Square, which finishes off the album extremely well. Russell Lissack continues to shine in his lead guitar duties with some great riffs on Halo and Trojan Horse, while Gordon Moakes' brilliantly simple bass playing and Matt Tong's energetic drums provide an excellent rhythm section. For me, Mercury was a very weird choice for a single, as it doesn't display any real aspects of Intimacy, apart from the technological side and vocal sampling.

Lyrics — 9
Lead singer Kele Okereke has stated that this is his "Break-Up Album", and lyrics on One Month Off, Trojan Horse, and Zephyrus paint a vivid picture of life as only Bloc Party can with lyrics such as "You used to take your watch off, before we made love/ You didn't want to share our time with anyone" from Trojan Horse and the chorus lyrics in One Month Off "I can be as cruel as you/Fighting fire with firewood/ I can be as cruel as you/Fighting lies with lies" are the particular lyrics that stand out for me. Okereke also pulls on other inspiration, with Better Than Heaven having a religious side to the lyrics, and Ion Square quoting poet E.E Cummings on the chorus "I carry your heart here with me, I carry it in my heart". Biko is about a friend with cancer "If I could eat your cancer I would", and Signs is written about a loved one dying "At your funeral I was so upset". He continues to experiment with his vocal style, with wild screaming on the crazed opener Ares, and vocal sampling on Mercury and One Month Off.

Overall Impression — 9
For those expecting a second Silent Alarm, Intimacy may have come as a bit of a shock. Intimacy is well produced, with well known producers Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee. It showcases the bands evolving musical style, and enhances Kele Okereke's reputation as a lyricist. In a sense, this album is Bloc Party's equivalent of Radiohead's Kid A, in what it has done for the band, and the changes in the band's sound. Overall, Intimacy is a great buy, and I would thouroughly recommend it.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    mercury is anything but amazing. I really hope the rest of the album is a lot better.
    The 'usual' hype that seems to revolve around every release was non-existent
    i had no idea about this album until my friend told me this morning! anyway will give it a listen, bloc party are starting to bore me though.
    fuzzypanda34 wrote: mercury is anything but amazing. I really hope the rest of the album is a lot better.
    It is
    I do really like this album at the moment, both reviews so far have got a pretty valid argument though, even the partially negative one. My biggest disappointment is the focus on vocals and drums, and neglect of bass and sometimes guitar. Still, great songs here, and hopefully the bonus tracks on CD will be worth the wait too.
    For me, Mercury was a very weird choice for a single, as it doesn't display any real aspects of Intimacy, apart from the technological side and vocal sampling
    This is actually the most fundamental aspect I disagree with in the first review. Mercury defines the evolution made, less focus on guitars, but more on vocals and rhythm. It's the further extreme from the rest of the album, but it without doubt sets the tone.
    The second review is the biggest loads of nonsense i've ever read. I wonder who agowen is because i reckon he has some sort of problem. the first one, on the other hand, was pure gold!!!!
    The album is really good-sort of epic. It truly is somewhere between Silent Alarm and A Weekend in the City.
    Julian you're welcome to disagree - isn't that the nature of music? But then where is the need to be rude? I'd be interested as to why it's 'nonsense'. It's descriptive and to the point - certainly subjective, but when discussing music you have to be otherwise it's boring. If you disagree, again, you're more than welcome, but it doesn't mean it's a bad review. If you think that this album is God's gift, go for it - I don't, especially in comparison to past efforts. It falls down in too many places for me, and I would really struggle to use the word epic. I'm a massive Bloc Party fan, and will continue to be, but I'm not the kind of person that will 'love' an album for the sake of it.